updated 1/15/2007 7:18:53 PM ET 2007-01-16T00:18:53

Workers at the Memphis Zoo tried for a second time Monday to artificially inseminate a young female panda after she and a male companion failed at mating the old fashioned way.

Insemination was also tried Sunday with the 6-year-old female, Ya Ya. She and male 8-year-old Le Le are on loan to the Memphis Zoo from China.

"I say we have a good chance at success," said Andy Kouba, the zoo's curator of research.

Kouba and his co-workers expect to find out if Ya Ya was impregnated around May, when she would be expected to give birth if the insemination worked.

Slideshow: A new home Pandas are notoriously poor breeders — a main reason their species is endangered — and females have only three days a year in which they can conceive. It's also hard figure out if they're pregnant or not.

Females go through a period of pseudo-pregnancy after their reproductive periods end, and a pregnancy cannot be confirmed until a few days before birth.

The panda exhibit at the Memphis Zoo was closed last week to give Ya Ya and Le Le some privacy. The pandas apparently tried to mate but didn't have much luck.

Zoo officials chalked that up to inexperience.

"As they become more mature, I think they will be natural breeders," said zoo president Chuck Brady.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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